On this episode of the podcast I speak with Tom Hunt about growing a SaaS business via podcasting. Tom builds and grows software businesses. He is the co-founder of a podcast host called bCast and he is the creator of the Confessions of a B2B marketer podcast.
He also writes amazing SaaS growth case studies at saasmarketer.io
How Tom started working with software startups
In 2014 he was working for a large consulting business and he decided that he didn’t want to do that anymore. He started to learn how to sell stuff on the internet and he started out with just affiliate offers.
He eventually came to the realization that you need assets to build a sustainable business and one of the best ways to do that is by building software tools.
He first worked on a service business where they were matching people in the Philippines with online entrepreneurs but that business wouldn’t scale. He had a marketplace called Virtual Valley that was similar to Upwork but for Filipinos virtual assistant. They built software to facilitate these interactions and they were taking a commission of 10% from the wages.
How the idea for bCast came up?
About 2 years ago he was the head of marketing at a B2B marketing company called Ebsta that was into sales software.
He wanted to pursue a new persona called sales operations. The sales ops person is responsible for making the sales team effective. He tried to market to them but he was often ignored. At the time there was no blogs or media sites helping this people.
He eventually created Sales Ops Demystified which is now the most downloaded podcast in sales operations.
After about 20 interviews they were eventually able to work with a business called intercom because they interviewed their VP of Sales operations on the podcast. These interviews also gave them great SEO benefits and social exposure.
At that point in time the podcast was hosted on a platform that is not well suited to the type of podcast they were running. He eventually saw a growing need in the market for businesses that are looking to podcast and no host in the market that can adequately address the need.
How to identify companies that can benefit from podcasting
A real benefit of podcasting for SaaS companies is not really built on monetizing the audience but it is by building relationships with the people that you co-create the content with.
Podcasting is actually a bad way of building an audience and the organic discovery of podcast is relatively non-existent at the moment though it might change.
It is a great way of building strategic relationships with potential customers, potential influencers and gently build influence in your market.
With so many tools out there, how do you decide on the tool to use?
At the moment podcasting is getting crowded. You need to define why someone should listen to your podcast. There has to be a reason why your podcast should be useful.
Do you have some experience others don’t have? Or are you helping people in a specific area like focusing on sales ops?
Before you get any tools, you need to start reaching out to people and get them to jump on your show. All you need is a name for the podcast and a zoom account initially.
You need to find guests and make sure the recording process is enjoyed by you and your guests.
Tom gives suggestions on how to create amazing content
On the listener side the podcast listener or podcast download stat is invaluable data because unlike a website visit you cannot retarget it with a Facebook ad. You don’t know who the person is, the app they are using to listen or the country they are from.
The first thing you need to think about is how to further the relationship with your brand from the audio content. It can be as simple as taking the insights from the first 10 to 20 episodes and produce a PDF with the top insights from those guests and offer it as an ebook to download for all listeners.
In Bcasts there is a feature that allows you to send a blank email to a custom email address that is created for you, so you are automatically opted in to that ebook and the email goes through Bcasts into your email autoresponder.
You can also interview your potential customers, create a bond with them and at the end of the interview you can ask them to review your product roadmap to give you feedback and if your product is solving a pain they might have, they will move into the sales process.
You can also partner with some affiliates and strike some deals in the process.
Other ways you can monetize your podcast or get some value out of it
You produce an insane amount of content in a 30 minute interview. You can put those takeaways in an e-book. You can also post those key takeaways from the episodes you release in a month as a LinkedIn article on the blog of the host.
You should put every podcast episode on your blog, optimize it for search terms related to your product and then take each of the key takeaways or the transcripts and put them on your blog post.
You can then pull out quotes from the episode and define them nicely with branding aligned to your podcast, share it on social media and tag your guests so that they can also share it as well.
You can pull out audio clips from the podcast and create lovely audio form videos
that you can post on your social channels.
Podcast gives you the highest leverage in terms of time invested to the amount of content you can get out.
Tom explains how to produce and share your podcast efficiently without wasting your time
There are three roles that are needed to execute a podcast. The first role is the host and the host time is usually the most valuable.
The host should work for only about 45 mins per episode. The host should see the calendar invite for the interview and do some light research on the guest for about 10 mins, then the interview is about half an hour and the host can spend about 5-10 mins after the interview chatting with the guest.
The second role is that of an editor, you can get good editors for a cheap price from around the world using Upwork or Fiverr that you will integrate into your workflow.
You can create a spreadsheet that contains the process your editor needs to follow. After the interview is over you need to supply the editor with the raw audio or video file and the editor can take edit it and take out the one-minute clip that is created to promote the podcast online. The editor might invest 30 mins to an hour on an episode
The third role is that of an operator, they are usually cheaper than the host. This is often a relatively experienced virtual assistant that you can pay $10 per hour. They are responsible for ensuring that the host have research on the guest, they make sure that the editor does the editing, they are also responsible for collating the assets and posting them on the blog. If you have transcripts from a service, they will need to buy the transcript. The operator might spend about 4 hours per episode.
The host might cost about $100 per episode, to edit the episode might cost about $30 and the operator might cost $40 per episode so with a budget of $200 per episode you can get it done.
Tips on how to become a better interviewer
Interviewing is a skill just like sales and marketing so you get better with practice. The role of the interviewer is to provide a platform for the guests to flourish because the gold that you’ll get in audio content often comes off script and it comes when the guest is in flow.
Some people think that their job as an interviewer is to perform themselves and to provide the insights and to talk to you much, but he disagrees with that perspective.
Your job is simply to ensure the guest has space to flourish, that’s the most important skill. There are also little things like doing an intro, doing those key summary things at the end, and asking intelligent questions. It is also important to find the right guests. If you find the right guests and you are able to make them perform then it’s likely that you are going to create great audio content.
The positioning benefit of podcasts
Many SaaS companies are benefiting from the positioning benefit of podcasts. Outreach have taken the category of sales engagement, they have written the book of book on sales engagement, they produce the sales engagement. Drift have taken the category of content marketing and their mission and ethos revolves around conversational marketing.
The podcast gives you as a business an opportunity to spot either an existing category or create a new category and then take your place on the ground to claim that category.
The greatest benefit Tom has derived from podcasting
The real benefit has been in the learning process he has had to make during the interviews. Interviewing is tough but it is extremely beneficial because you are forced to pay attention to someone speaking.
For a SaaS founder who is interviewing his ideal customers, podcasting allows you to learn a lot about the field your ideal customers are in and type of person you are targeting. It also enables you to know their persona in and out.
How Bcast helps SaaS founders with podcasting
He writes a case study on a fast company that is growing every two weeks. They run the entire podcast process for SaaS companies. Bcast is the podcast software that enables this process for B2B businesses.
The pricing ranges from $1500 – $2500 per month and it is based on the amount of episodes you release during the month. Bcast ranges from $15 to $75 based on the number of downloads.
bCast – Podcast Hosting for High Growth Businesses
SaaS Marketer – Actionable SaaS Growth Case Study every other week
Outreach – Make your team a revenue driving machine
Drift – The new way businesses buy from businesses